Business Unity South Africa (Busa) believes newly appointed Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter is the right man to turn things around at the embattled electricity provider.
The business organisation said his appointment was important to stabilise Eskom’s management, operations and finances.
De Ruyter was appointed on Monday after the CEO position had been vacant since July. The embattled power utility has been beset by financial woes.
Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan said De Ruyter accepted the top job at a lower salary than the post usually commands.
Gordhan said the appointment was in line with the recruitment process at Eskom.
“His willingness to accept the position in these trying times, and under difficult conditions, speaks to his commitment to the country,” said Busa CEO Cas Coovadia.
“He can count on the support of Busa as he seeks to undo years of mismanagement and corruption and turn the company into a sustainable business that is able to provide the country with the reliable power supply it needs for inclusive economic growth.”
Coovadia said extensive work had been done in identifying how the power utility could be restructured into a viable entity.
“Key among these are the plan to split Eskom into generation, transmission and distribution units; improving its efficiency and sustainability of its operations; restructuring its crippling debt and negotiating with suppliers to reduce its costs; as well as getting its customers, especially municipalities, to pay their bills.”
Coovadia said one of De Ruyter’s key roles would be to ensure that workers and communities were supported and reskilled. De Ruyter needed to have the support of the government when he made difficult operational decisions, said Coovadia.
“If the government is committed to turning Eskom into a sustainable business and maintaining its credibility as a responsible steward of the country’s finances, it must let De Ruyter do his job to the best of his ability and without interference, and in the national interest instead of in the interests of particular constituencies.
“The country cannot afford to lose another Eskom chief executive due to interference in its operations.”